Supporting Conservation: The Roles of Flagship Species and Identifiable Victims

Laura Thomas-Walters, Nichola J Raihani
2016 Conservation Letters  
Psychological insights into human behavior can have enormous applied value for promoting charitable giving. Nevertheless, the application of these insights to conservation appeals featuring nonhuman animals has scarcely been explored. Although people often donate more when presented with single "identifiable" victims, whether this effect also extends to nonhumans is not known. Similarly, although many conservation appeals feature flagship species, it is unclear whether flagship species generate
more » ... ip species generate increased donations. We experimentally investigated how (1) identifiable versus statistical beneficiaries and (2) flagship versus nonflagship species affected donations to a conservation charity. Unexpectedly, subjects did not donate more when presented with single identifiable beneficiaries rather than groups of beneficiaries. Flagship species, on the other hand, increased donation amounts relative to appeals featuring nonflagship species. We discuss how these findings can inform and improve the effectiveness of conservation fundraising appeals.
doi:10.1111/conl.12319 fatcat:xjklvokdsje53jzrwvb4u4y5yu